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HIGH ACHIEVERS WEEKEND WRAP: Cyclist Michael Woods wins first overall title ahead of third Tour de France


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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

Bring on the Tour de France.

Ottawa’s Michael Woods is ready for his third venture into cycling’s most famous and challenging adventure (July 1-24), especially after an historic weekend on the roads of France.

For the first time in his 10-year pro career, Woods won his inaugural general classification (championship title) at the four-stage La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi in France.

After opening with a 31st-place finish in stage 1 and a sixth in stage 2 to climb into 11th on the general classification, Woods placed first in stage 3 for his 10th pro victory overall. That win over 188.7 kilometres, which took five hours, 23 minutes, 35 seconds, elevated him into first place in the general classification standings with a 1:16 advantage over Carlos Rodriguez of INEOS Grenadiers.

It was a banner day for Woods on Saturday as he was called to the podium to celebrate four first-place rankings for his Israel-Premier Tech team – stage winner, new general classification leader, climber’s points leader and points classification leader.

On Sunday, the strong crosswinds played a role in the 188.3-kilometre downhill stage, but Woods was well protected by his Israel-Premier Tech teammates as he finished 15th, but with the same time as the leaders at 4:13:39. Woods maintained his 1:16 lead at the end with a 14:33:18 combined finish time.

“This is the first stage race I have won in my career,” Woods noted after the race, which also saw him finish second in both the mountain and points classifications.


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“I’m really happy with the result and really pleased with the teamwork. I always felt protected. We had Cole (Kessler) riding at the front at the start of the race and then Guy (Sagiv) and Taj (Jones) did an amazing job putting me in position in the crosswind.

“Carl (Fredrik Hagen) did great to be in that small group at the end and just help me and be with me for the rest of the race. I’m really happy and I’m really excited for the Tour de France now.”

The 2022 Tour de France will have 21 stages over 24 days, five summit finishes, two time-trials and 11 cobbled sections from July 1-24.

In his Tour de France debut in 2019, Woods was 32nd in the general classification with a best-stage result of sixth. In 2021, Woods placed third in stage 8 and was 25th in the general classification after stage 15 before not starting stage 19.

SWIM OTTAWA SIXTH AT ONTARIO YOUTH-JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Swim Ottawa recorded an impressive sixth-place showing in the club points standing at the Ontario youth-junior swimming championships in Toronto.

Markham Aquatic Club dominated the four-day boys and girls’ championships with 2,693 points. The club points podium was completed by Oakville Aquatic Club, 2,298, and Mississauga Aquatic Club, 1,199.5.

Swim Ottawa finished sixth at 719.5 points, while the Greater-Ottawa Kingfish were 15th at 394.5, Goulbourn Sea Hawks took 19th at 291, Carleton Place Water Dragons were 37th at 120.5, ROC Swimming took 43rd with 90, Nepean-Kanata Barracudas placed 53rd at 43, and Ottawa Y Olympians were 64th at 18.

Swim Ottawa was led by swimmers in the girls’ 14-year-old and the 15-year-old-and-over divisions, especially in the relays.

The team of Molly Barber, Okyana LeClair-Haddad, Charlotte Anderson and Isabella Chiumera combined for 14-year-old division silver medals in the 4×100-metre freestyle relay (4:13.39) and the 4×50-metre medley relay (2:10.39), as well as bronze medals in the 4×50-metre freestyle relay (1:55.43) and 4×100-metre medley relay (4:49.12).

The 15-year-old-and-over-relay squad of Gwen Creskey, Clare Bolt, Danielle Moss and Alivia Chiumera were third in the 4×100-metre medley in 4:49.0 and fourth in the 4×50-metre medley in 2:05.90.

Individually, Barber was fourth in the 400-metre freestyle (4:50.79) and the 200-metre freestyle (2:16.13), as well as fifth in the 50-metre freestyle (28.46).

Isabella Chiumera, who also is a noteworthy cross-country and track runner at St. Pius X High School, placed fourth in the 200-metre backstroke (2:30.19) and fifth in the 200-metre freestyle (2:16.33).

Declan Sweetnam was the top Swim Ottawa male swimmer with a second in the 200-metre breaststroke (2:39.02) and a fourth in the 200-metre individual medley (2:26.23) in the 13-and-under division.

GO’s Annika Hollo and Kira Charapova were called to the medal podium four times each in the girls’ 13-and-under class.

Hollo was second in the 200-metre individual medley (2:33.30) and the 100-metre freestyle (1:01.59), as well as third in the 50-metre freestyle (28.39) and the 100-metre butterfly (1:09.97).

Charapova earned four bronze medals, which came in the 400-metre freestyle (4:52.01), 200-metre individual medley (2:34.36), 200-metre freestyle (2:16.19) and 100-metre freestyle (1:01.90).

Hollo, Charapova, Ava Noordhof and Tea Bouchard were third in the 4×100-metre freestyle relay at 4:14.77.

The other Ottawa and area club medallists were in the 1,500-metre freestyle – Carleton Place Water Dragons’ Elizabeth Greaves (bronze, women’s 16 and over, 18:41.23) and Nepean-Kanata Barracudas’ Alexander Beyea (boys’ 14 years old, bronze, 18:49.42).

MAX CORCORAN, LAUREN GERVAIS OVGA JUNIOR CHAMPIONS

The boys’ junior and U17 champions produced the same combined score and the girls’ winners were only one shot apart at the 36-hole Ottawa Valley Golf Association junior city and district championships.

The first round was played Saturday at the Hylands Golf Club and Sunday’s final round was held at the Kanata Golf and Country Club.

Max Corcoran of Loch March was the boys’ junior winner, scoring 79-74 for an 11-over-par 153, while Luc Antonie De Celles of Royal Ottawa (75-79) and David Lafrenière of the Ottawa Hunt (76-78) tied for second at 154.

Greyhawk’s Isaiah Ibit was the boys’ U17 champion at 77-76-153. Jayson Ross of the Hunt took second at 77-77-154, and public player Bode Stephen was third at 79-76-155.

Lauren Gervais of Carleton finished first among the junior girls at 81-79-160 (plus-18) with Avery Mack of Royal Ottawa placing second (94-88-182) and Jenna Collins of the Hunt taking third (106-100-206).

Royal Ottawa’s Sophie Foulds had the best score among all female players as she won the U17 title at 78-81-159. Antonia Ho of the Hunt was second at 78-88-166, and Blainville’s Mackenzie Cloutier was third at 81-86-167.

Meanwhile, Ottawa Hunt’s Isabella Ferguson lost 3 and 2 to Raesa Sheikh of Golf Canada Club in the quarterfinal round at the Ontario women’s match-play championship at the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club.

Ferguson, who tied for second in the qualifying round at one-over-par 75, reached the quarters with a 2 and 1 victory over Jessie Mercer of Cataraqui.

At the Glencoe Invitational golf tournament in Calgary, James Newton of the Royal Ottawa tied for 22nd place, after shooting 76-77-75 for a 12-over-par 228. There were 33 golfers in the men’s amateur field.

LOCAL PLAYERS INVITED TO HOCKEY CANADA CAMPS

Hockey Canada has invited nine players from the National Capital Region to its national men’s junior team summer camp and five Ottawa-based players to its U17 men’s development camp next month in Calgary.

The forwards attending the junior summer camp are Jack Beck of Richmond Hill, ON., and Luca Pinelli of Stoney Creek, ON., both of the Ottawa 67’s; and Gatineau Olympiques’ Zach Dean of Mount Pearl, NL.

The defencemen are Nepean’s Brandt Clarke (Barrie), Gatineau’s Tyson Hinds (Sherbrooke), Jack Matier (Ottawa 67’s), Tristan Luneau (Gatineau Olympiques), and Ottawa’s Oliver Bonk (London).

One hundred players have been invited to the U17 development camp to form three Canadian teams for the World U17 Hockey Challenge Nov. 5-12 in Langley, B.C., and Delta, B.C.

That group includes goalkeeper David Egorov of Manotick, defenceman Henry Mews of Nepean, and forwards Cole Beaudoin of Kanata, Benjamin Cormier of Ottawa and Nathan Villeneuve of Ottawa.

LIAM DONNELLY PERFORMS WELL IN TRIATHLON MEET

Ottawa’s Liam Donnelly placed 25th at the World Triathlon Cup in Huatulco, Mexico. He covered the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike ride and five-kilometre run in 54 minutes, 43 seconds.

Winnipeg’s Tyler Mislawchuk was second overall for his third straight podium finish in 53:48.

CANADIAN WOMEN TIE FIRST WATER POLO MATCH AT WORLDS

Canada scored the only goal of the fourth quarter to earn a 7-7 tie with Italy in its opening women’s round-robin water polo game at the FINA world championships in Budapest.

Ottawa’s Jessica Gaudreault is one of two goalkeepers on the Canadian team. Aleksa Gardijan of Gatineau is on the Canadian men’s roster, alongside Ottawa hole set Bogdan Djerkovic.

OTTAWA ROWER REACHES/MISSES FIRST WORLD CUP MEN’S EIGHT ‘A’ FINAL

Josh King’s Rowing World Cup debut in the signature Canadian men’s eight boat was cut a bit short as the crew did not start its last race despite qualifying for the A final on Sunday in Poland.

Along with two teammates, King was ruled out of the final medical reasons, relayed the commentators on the event’s livestream.

Earlier, the Ottawa Rowing Club product helped Canada dominate the repechage race to advance to the final, winning Saturday’s race by six seconds ahead of the nearest boat to advance to the six-boat final. The Canadians had finished just under three seconds back of eventual silver-medallist Australia in their opening heat on Friday.

King was an alternate for Team Canada at last summer’s Olympics.

LOCAL PLAYERS CELEBRATE WOMEN’S NATIONAL DODGEBALL TITLE

Stock full of Ottawa players, the Valkyrie women’s dodgeball team won a national championship in Edmonton this past weekend.

Valkyrie went 9-1 in the round robin to finish second in Pool B and secure a berth in the quarter-finals. In their playoff matches, Valkyrie downed Manitoba’s Rainbow Thunder 7-5, then upset top-seeded and unbeaten Ontario counterparts Reckless 8-5 in the semi-finals, and took down Manitoba’s Rogue 12-7 in the gold medal game.

The team’s co-captains were Jessica Gray and Jenna Flannigan, who won a silver medal at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games with the Canadian women’s baseball team.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 48 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.


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